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MIT BS in Archaeology and Materials: Course 3C
as recommended by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

The 3C program is designed to afford students broad exposure to fields that contribute fundamental theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of ancient and historic, non-industrial societies. The primary fields that comprise the curriculum include anthropological archaeology, geology, and materials science and engineering.

The 3C curriculum is structured to provide full balance between archaeology and archaeological science on one hand and materials science and engineering on the other. The program's special focus is on understanding prehistoric societies through study of the materials technologies practiced by those societies. Such study requires investigation into the structure and properties of materials associated with human activities.

Investigating peoples' interactions with materials, the objects that those interactions produced, as well as the social and environmental settings that supported specific materials technologies leads to a fuller analysis of the physical, social, cultural, and ideological worlds in which people function.

Participation in laboratory work is an integral part of the curriculum. The program requires that students take a materials laboratory course. Some of the archaeology subjects are designed with a laboratory component. Senior theses always involve materials laboratory research that may investigate archaeological artifacts or materials processing and production technologies. Undergraduate students carry out their thesis research in the extensive CMRAE laboratory facilities.

UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) and thesis projects may include archaeological fieldwork during IAP (Independent Activities Period) or the summer months.

The 3C Curriculum

General Institute Requirements (GIRs)

Laboratory Requirement [can be satisfied by 3.014 or 12.119 in the Departmental Program] 1
Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST) Requirement [can be satisfied by 3.012, 3.021J or 12.001 in the Departmental Program] 2
Science Requirement 6
Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement [can be satisfied by 3.986, 3.987, 3.985J, and 21A.100; and 3.982, 3.983, or 3.988 in the Departmental Program] 8
Total GIR Subjects Required for SB Degree 17

Communication Requirement

The program includes a Communication Requirement of 4 subjects:

  • 2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CI-H); and
  • 2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in the Major (CI-M).
PLUS Departmental Program Units
Subject names below are followed by credit units, and by prerequisites, if any (corequisites in italics).

Required Subjects

3.012 Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering, 15, REST; 18.03*

3.014 Materials Laboratory, 12, LAB, CI-M

One of the following three subjects:

One of the following three subjects:

3.022 Microstructural Evolution in Materials, 12; 3.012

3.032 Mechanical Behavior of Materials, 12; Physics I (GIR), 3.016*
3.044 Materials Processing, 12; 3.012, 3.022

3.ThU Thesis, 9 (1)

3.985J Archaeological Science, 9, HASS; Chemistry (GIR)*

3.986 The Human Past: Introduction to Archaeology, 12, HASS-D

3.987 Human Origins and Evolution, 9, HASS

3.990 Seminar in Archaeological Method and Theory, 9; 3.986, 3.985J, 21A.100

12.001 Introduction to Geology, 12, REST

12.110 Sedimentary Geology, 12; 12.001
12.119 Analytical Techniques for Studying Environmental and Geologic Samples, 12, LAB

21A.100 Introduction to Anthropology, 12, HASS-D


Restricted Electives (2)

One subject from the following list:

One subject from the following list:

  • 3.982 The Ancient Andean World, 9, HASS
  • 3.983 Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization, 9, HASS
  • 3.984 Materials in Ancient Societies: Metals, 12; permission of instructor
  • 3.988 Africa — Past and Present, 9, HASS
Departmental Program Units That Also Satisfy the GIRs (90)
Unrestricted Electives 97
Total Units Beyond the GIRs Required for SB Degree 180-193

No subject can be counted both as part of the 17-subject GIRs and as part of the 180 units required beyond the GIRs. Every subject in the student's departmental program will count toward one or the other, but not both.


*Alternate prerequisites are listed in the subject description.

(1) Students may elect up to 9-12 units.

(2) Substitution of similar subjects may be permitted by petition.

For an explanation of credit units, or hours, please refer to the Subject Key.